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Brexit consequences for UT

The United Kingdom will leave the European Union – a process known as 'Brexit’. The UK and the EU reached an agreement in 2018 on the conditions for this process. However, the UK parliament has not approved this agreement. For this reason, the 27 remaining EU countries and the British government have decided to postpone Brexit until 31 October 2019 at the latest. This date will be moved forward if the UK parliament approves the agreement earlier. 

Regardless if there is an agreement or no agreement on the conditions for the process of leaving the EU (deal or no-deal), it will have consequences for the University of Twente.

Meanwhile, commitments have been made by the UK, the EU and the Dutch government about the status of students, staff members and their families in the Netherlands. In most cases, the current status remains valid also in a no-deal situation, for the time being.

For example, exchange students can complete their exchange period. British students already enrolled at the UT still meet the requirements to pay the statutory tuition fee. For the time being there is no need to follow extensive procedures for British employees to work here. 

The impact of Brexit on the UT also relates to projects in which we collaborate with British partners, for example under Horizon 2020. At least until the end of October, these projects do not seem to be affected.

On this page we will publish the most recent information about the consequences of the Brexit for students, staff members and their family, for partnerships and for the use of personal data.  We also refer to other pages with more specific information.

Brexit for students

At the moment we have questions in the FAQ for visa and for Admission, please see the links below:

Brexit for employees and PhD’s

On the website of the IND you can read more about the consequences of UK leaving the European Union and what you can do now if you wish to continue living and working in the Netherlands: https://ind.nl/en/Pages/Brexit.aspx

Brexit and personal data

 How will a no deal-Brexit impact the transfer of personal data with a party in the United Kingdom (UK)?
The United Kingdom (UK) will leave the European Union (EU). The UK will then no longer be a member state and therefore, EU laws (amongst which the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)) will no longer be applicable in the UK. The Brexit will have consequences for the transfer of personal data to the UK. Which consequences specifically will be involved, depend on the question whether or not a withdrawal agreement will be in place before 31 October 2019 (deal- or no deal-Brexit).

Deal

In the event a withdrawal agreement with a transition period of two years will be put in place, the GDPR will be applicable until the end of 2020 in the UK. On short term, nothing will change in the international transfer of personal data.

No deal

In the event no withdrawal agreement will be in place (no deal-Brexit), things get more complicated. Under the GDPR, the UK will be seen as a ‘third country’. The transfer of personal data to a third country is allowed, in case the European Commission has adopted an adequacy decision, which would recognize the UK’s data protection regime as essentially equivalent to those in the EU. However, any such adequacy decisions will not be in place before the UK leaves the EU. Therefore, one of the other instruments as included in the GDPR will need to be used for the transfer of personal data.

Most likely, the best solution will be to put in place standard contractual clauses with the UK party. These contracts offer the additional adequate safeguards with respect to data protection that are needed. In some cases, it is possible to make use of a derogation like explicit consent.

How to proceed

At this point, it is not clear yet whether or not a withdrawal agreement will be in place. You can however make some necessary preparations. Start with identifying what processing activities will imply a personal data transfer to the UK. Further, determine whether you can put in place standard contractual clauses with the UK party and make sure it can be implemented by 31 October 2019. Furthermore, make sure that it will be indicated in internal documentation that transfers will be made to the UK. Also, privacy notices will need to be updated accordingly to inform individuals.

Conclusion

In case of a no deal-Brexit, the UK will be seen as a third country and therefore, you will need to base the transfer of personal data to a third country on one of the transfer instruments under the GDPR. The best solution will most likely be to put in place standard contractual clauses. Internally, the register of processing operations will need to include that personal data will be transferred to the UK and privacy notices will need to be updated accordingly. For any questions or concerns about this subject, please contact your Privacy Contact Person or the Data Protection Officer (dpo@utwente.nl).

Contact

 For questions or concerns related to the Brexit and the consequences for you as a student or employee at the UT, please send an email to Brexit@utwente.nl.